The Academy is starting disciplinary proceedings against Will Smith over the blow the actor gave to Chris Rock at the Oscar ceremony. The film awards organizer also says Smith was asked to leave after the incident but refused to.
The executive board of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has now discussed the incident and decided to initiate the disciplinary proceedings because Smith allegedly violated the organization‘s code of conduct. The actor will have the opportunity to defend himself in writing, before the board reunite on April 18.
Smith could be suspended or expelled as a member of the Academy, but other penalties are also on the table, according to the film organization.
Jada Pinkett Smith joke
During the Oscar ceremony, host Chris Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. She suffers from the autoimmune disease alopecia, which causes her hair to fall out. Rock said she was ready with her bald head for a sequel to G.I. Jane, the film that Demi Moore shaved her head for baldness in 1997.
On this Smith walked on stage and he punched the comedian in the face. Later in the evening, he received the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard.
“We couldn‘t have foreseen these events,” says the organization. “We want to make it clear that Mr. Smith has been requested to leave, but he refused. We also want to acknowledge that we could have reacted to the situation in a different way.”
The Academy calls Smith’s actions “a shocking and traumatizing event, both for those present in the venue and the TV viewers”. The organization apologizes to Chris Rock and praises him for his resilience after the blow. Apologies are also offered to the attendees and viewers.
Will Smith apologized to Rock, the Academy and viewers one day after the incident. “I went over the line and I was wrong.”